Monday, January 07, 2008

The future of the Lib Dems - 4 party politics

The Lib Dems current leader (Nick Clegg in case things are changing to fast for you to keep up) says he wants to break two party politics and promises a bold strategy.

That's an interesting and revealing statement. It refers in part to the desire for his side to win. Let there be yellow MPs - more of them. We'll think about what they stand for later ( or better have some standing for one thing, others for another ).

It treats politics like football, where no one even pretends premiership clubs have any real local links - except that the punters who pay up are mostly local - because the players and management certainly aren't.

The Lib Dems, SDLP, LP + SDP etc have always complained about the electoral system. But still they act as the party of protest. Their most successful political strategy is really just an electoral tactic of vote for us or the other side will whom you hate more, will get in.

Being a party of protest and a proxy to get at Labour/The Conservatives is hardly a reason d'etre, and if Mr Clegg is to achieve his aim they will need one.

At this point I should point out that this puts the cart before the horse. Arguing for policies that will let your premiership political team win is like getting out your cheque book and buying success in the premiership. Its very cynical and suggest you believe or are convinced of nothing at all really.

That point aside, what does Nick Clegg need to do ? He needs further axes of political thought and to place his party at the end of some of them, not outflanked by either of the other two.

On this point - liberalism - offers a potential happy hunting ground. Liberal (ie right wing) economics and liberal social standards. Oddly they don't seem to go together.

Take a look at the following bit of fun MiaS found on the US elections (hat tip Conservative Home - have a go yourself here):
A similar axis exists for British Politics, top left to bottom right. The gaps are bottom left and top right.

However if Clegg goes for top right ( economic liberal and social liberal ) can he really take his party with him ? After all the SDP part of the Lib Dems is certainly to the left and used to be socially conservative.

Perhaps the Lib Dems real problem is that they are two parties trying to trade under one name. If that is true Nick Clegg will just bring disaster to them if he brings clarity.

And Clarity is needed to break the two party mould. Doesn't look good for Nick does it ?

Really he needs to establish 4 party politics - and split the Lib Dems up.


The Great Simpleton said...

The British equivalent is at and well worth a visit. Looking at their analysis of the position of our 3 main parties and how they got there is very instructive.

Man in a Shed said...

Thanks - I'll take a look.